Seattle’s iconic First and Pike newsstand is nearing its final day as our local purveyor of fine news, Hubba Bubba, and salacious magazines.
Another victim of the move toward digital—and without enough gum wall visitors to keep it afloat on bubbles alone—First and Pike will sell its last magazine on Tuesday, December 31. The end of a decade, the end of an era.
But First and Pike tote bags, which you can buy at the spot in question for $11.95, are just beginning their reign as the must-have, limited-edition fashion statement of Seattleites who want to say they were here when it happened.
Bigger than the iconic but overdone New Yorker version (and actually built to slide over human shoulders), the bags bear the likeness of a frantic, genderless newsperson carrying a generic “Seattle” newspaper. They read “First & Pike News,” and then, smaller, “Pike Place Market, Seattle.” On the back side is a somewhat disappointing "read read read." They smell distinctly like the costume aisle of a Party City.
Nonetheless, they’re going like mad. George Cottrell, who’s worked at First and Pike for two decades (half the newsstand’s lifetime), confirmed with the boss that the 380 totes brought in this morning are the last of them. He guessed he’d sold around 20 today, before the lunch rush. Since the announcement, First and Pike is the busiest it’s ever been.
You know what they say: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s nothing but a commemorative tote bag.